Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue speaks at the Treasury Department last year. The administration has offered early retirement to 9,000 employees. (Alex Wong / Getty)
The Social Security Administration on Monday offered early retirements to 9,000 employees, almost 14 percent of its workforce.
Anyone taking voluntary early retirement must retire by Sept. 30. The offers are effective immediately, SSA said in an e-mail to Federal Times. SSA is not offering buyouts.
To be eligible, employees must have completed 20 years of creditable service and be at least 50 years of age, or have at least 25 years of creditable service at any age. They must have been continuously on SSA’s payroll since Dec. 26, 2011.
Civil Service Retirement System employees must have served in a CSRS position for at least one year out of the two years immediately before retirement. There is no such requirement for Federal Employees Retirement System workers.
SSA said about 9,000 employees meet those requirements. The agency did not say how many it expects or hopes will take this offer.
SSA currently has more than 62,000 employees. The agency already is struggling with last year’s 6 percent reduction in staffing, which has forced it to rely on overtime or close field offices to the public a half-hour early.
SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue told the Senate Finance Committee on May 17 that further cuts in fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013 would force the agency to cut its hours even further next year.
Staffing cuts also could hurt SSA’s ability to reduce its claims backlog, which has troubled the agency for years.